Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrates Mass in the Basilica of St Mary Major Rome in 2022 (CNS/Vatican Media)

The only way to carry out the new evangelisation called for by Pope Francis is to adopt the pastoral style of a compassionate, humble, patient and simple priest who walks at the same pace as his people, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has told seminarians. Source: OSV News.

“This is how the priest will touch the hearts of his faithful, win their trust and bring them face to face with Christ,” the cardinal wrote in a message sent on behalf of Pope Francis to seminarians in France. The Vatican published the written message from the Vatican secretary of state on Friday.

“No one has the power to change the nature of the priesthood and no one ever will, even if the ways in which it is exercised must necessarily take account of changes in today’s society and the serious vocational crisis we are experiencing,” he wrote.

At the very heart of the priestly identity is celibacy, the cardinal wrote.

“Priests are celibate – and they wish to be – simply because Jesus was celibate. The requirement of celibacy is not primarily theological, but mystical: may this be understood by he who is able,” he wrote.

One thing that has changed, however, is the image of the Church, he said, and with that change the figure of the priest has lost “its prestige and natural authority in the eyes of the majority of people and has even unfortunately been tarnished”.

“This is why the only possible way to carry out the new evangelisation called for by Pope Francis, so that everyone can have a personal encounter with Christ, is to adopt a pastoral style of closeness, compassion, humility, gratuitousness, patience, gentleness, radical self-giving to others, simplicity and poverty,” Cardinal Parolin wrote. The priest must know the “smell” of his sheep and walk with them “at their pace”.


No one can or will change the nature of the priesthood, cardinal says (By Carol Glatz, CNS via OSV News)